Sun 01 August 2021:
Taliban fighters fired at least three rockets towards Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan overnight, according to a spokesman for group, with the goal of thwarting air attacks by Afghan government forces.
“Kandahar airport was targeted by us because the enemy were using it as a center to conduct air strikes against us,” Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, told Reuters.
Officials from the Afghan government stated the rocket assaults forced them to cancel all flights and that the runway had been partially damaged. Officials stated there were no early reports of casualties.
“Last night three rockets were fired at the airport and two of them hit the runway… Due to this all flights from the airport have been canceled,” airport chief Massoud Pashtun told AFP.
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Pashtun said work to repair the runway was underway and expected the airport to be operational later on Sunday.
An official at the civil aviation authority in Kabul confirmed the rocket attack.
The Taliban have been launching ferocious assaults on the outskirts of Kandahar for weeks, raising worries that the rebels were close to taking the province capital.
Kandahar’s air base is vital to providing the logistics and air support needed to keep the militants from overrunning Afghanistan’s second-biggest city.
The attack on the airport came as the Taliban inched closer to overrunning two other provincial capitals — Herat in the west and Lashkar Gah in the south.
During the last stages of the US military pullout, the Taliban made significant territory gains, mostly in sparsely populated rural areas.
But in recent weeks they have brought increasing pressure on several provincial capitals and seized key border crossings.
The Taliban’s current attack would be taken to a new level if any major urban centers were captured, fueling fears that the army would be unable to fend off the Taliban’s battlefield gains.
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